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Steyr AUG A3 M1 Review

Looking for a new rifle for your collection? If so, then this might be the answer you are looking for. The Steyr AUD A3 M1 is a futuristic-looking assault rifle that is a must-have for anyone who is looking to move from ARs or AKs.

However, this is not a “first gun” type of rifle! If you’re new to shooting as a sport, then perhaps the more “user-friendly” options are better for you. Not saying that the Steyr AUG A3 M1 is a bad gun to shoot, but because of its bullpup design, which may feel uncomfortable to newer shooters.

So, let’s get this Steyr AUG A3 M1 review underway and find out if this is the perfect next rifle for you…


Company Background

Steyr bases its production on four main pillars of excellence; Innovation, precision, reliability, and safety. In 1864, Josef Werndl started the company out in a sawmill. However, over the years, they shifted from traditional craftsmanship to more modern computer-based technology to achieve the world-renowned quality that is the Steyr company.

steyr aug a3 m1review

Today Steyr has a huge variety of rifles to choose from, including parts, accessories, and lots more. And in 2019, Steyr announced the Monobloc, a unique hunting rifle that is built to military-grade for the public and offers extreme precision. Regardless of modernization, Steyr firearms still maintain their standards of innovation, precision, reliability, and safety.

Now let’s take a closer look into one of their most iconic rifles, the…

Steyr AUG A3 M1

Thanks to the Austrian army, the Steyr AUG is easily one of the most popular bullpup rifles out there. And the Austrian army has been using the AUG for over 40 years, since 1977, to be exact! Due to this, Steyr released a civilian version of the rifle known as the Steyr AUG A3 M1.

Product Description

The Steyr AUG A3 M1 is a bullpup assault rifle chambered in 5.56 x 45mm and is semi-ambidextrous. This means that you can convert the rifle manipulations to either to the right or the left with very few problems.

The AUG A3 M1 operates with an adjustable short-stroke, semi-auto gas-piston, and has an adjustable gas setting for recoil management and bullet grain. As for the magazine, you can choose between their 10,30, or 40 round magazine depending on the local laws.

Built to last…

The body of the Steyr AUG A3 M1 is mostly made out of a very durable synthetic and comes in black, green, mud, and white colors. There are also two versions for the AUG A3 M1, the first being the Steyr design made to fit only Steyr AUG magazine and second, being the NATO version, which supports all AR-style (STANAG) magazine.

best steyr aug a3 m1

The entire rifle measures at 28.15 inches. This includes the 16-inch barrel and weighs around 8 pounds with an unloaded magazine. This makes it much shorter than ARs with the same barrel lengths. But that is to be expected from a bullpup rifle.

As for the rails…

You can choose between a short rail or a long high-rail. In some situations, you might even go for their built-in magnification rail system.

Since the Steyr is not fully ambidextrous, you may have to spend some time switching the parts around to get a left-handed rifle. For example, for the charging handle and the ejection port, you would have to replace the right-handed parts and interchange them with left-handed counterparts.


Recently, the receiver has been modified to fit the VLTOR QD sling swivel on both the front and back of the receiver, making it handy for shooters who prefer 2-point slings. QD slings are also good for shooters who have preferences to shoot with single-point slings. So changing between the two is more convenient than it was before the QD sling mounts.

Top Features

Design

There is much to like about the Steyr AUG A3 M1, especially its sleek bullpup design. It fits comfortably in your shoulder, and the weight is rear focused, so it is easier to carry for long periods. In addition to the new QD mounts, the different rail variations aid in making it ideal for individual shooters. With some models, you will even get side-rails for lights and other accessories.

Another key designing element is the quick-change option for the barrel. To change the barrel, you simply remove the pin at the handgrip and slide it out and replace it. It’s that simple!

steyr aug a3 m1 guide

Gas System

The Steyr AUG A3 M1 has a dual-gas system. When set on standard, the rifle will cycle smoothly, but this will only last until the ammunition or grain is perfect. When the ammunition is dirty, or maybe the bullet-grain isn’t correctly packed, then opening it fully will help the piston cycle better.

Reliability

The Steyr AUG A3 M1 doesn’t get the attention it should in terms of reliability. Everyone thinks of the AK line when discussing durability and reliability, but in fact, the Aug A3 M1 will also fire in almost all conditions.


Steyr AUG A3 M1 Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Bullpup

The length of the Steyr AUG gives it an advantage over other assault rifles. Measuring at only 28 inches, you get the accuracy of other 16-inch barrels but with a lot more maneuverability for tight CQC situations. The design also allows less fatigue as most of the weight is further back, and your trigger arm will support most of the weight.

  • Quick-change barrel.

Barrels heat up after firing a certain number of rounds, and when this happens, it affects the accuracy of the rifle. Sometimes you don’t want to wait for the barrel to cool down, and perhaps you don’t want to go through the hassle of changing the barrel. With the Steyr AUG A3 M1, you can simply twist the barrel and slide it out and change it. This method is simple and fast. You don’t even need tools!

steyr aug a3 m1

  • Futuristic

Even though it was designed in the 60s, the bullpup style looks like it came out of a sci-fi film. This makes it a must-have for your gun collection. It is most likely not going to go out of style either as it is still one of the most recognizable rifle designs.

  • Rail options

With the Steyr AUG, they have different options for your rail mounts. You can choose the low and short rail for red dots, or you could choose the longer and higher rails which work well with magnified optics. One of their unique rails is their built-in magnified rails, which gave the AUG its initial iconic look.

  • Convertible semi-ambidextrous

Perfect for left and right-handed shooters! Regardless of what hand you choose, there are options for you to convert your rifle to your dominant hand. From the charging handle to the ejection port, you can set it the way you want it.

If there are pros, there must be cons. The Steyr AUG A3 M1 is an amazing gun if you can forgive its downsides…

Cons

  • Charging handle

Not to complain, but the charging handle is already ambidextrous, which is great, but its position makes it slightly difficult to pull back as it is a little too close to the top rail.

  • Why is that a problem?

Well, there have been many incidents where the charging handle is being pulled back, but then the knuckle scrapes against the edges of the top rail. If you wear gloves or pull the charging handle carefully, then it should be ok. This can be solved by using the tip of your first knuckle to charge the rifle, or you could just attach the higher rail to avoid getting your knuckle scrapped.

  • Stock

The only complaint here is with the design. Bullpup designs try to be a one-size-fits-all because their buttstocks cannot be adjusted. So if your arms are a little shorter or longer than their design, then shooting could get uncomfortable, and reaching the trigger may be difficult. If your arms are longer, then your elbow may have trouble remaining tucked to your side.

best steyr aug a3 m1 review

  • Safety

The ambidextrous safety is a plus for the AUG. However, there are a few things that need to be mentioned. First, it takes some getting used to as its nothing like any other assault rifle. Second, the edges could be smoothed out a bit, but you could just file it down yourself.

  • Trigger

There is much to be liked about the trigger, but it’s the same for all bullpup designs as the trigger pull is naturally heavier. The Steyr AUG A3 M1 has a 9.8-pound trigger pull. It also has a plastic-on-plastic feel, which might feel sluggish to many shooters. However, once you get used to it, your shooting ability will not be affected by the weight.

  • Reloading

For all competitive shooters, this might be a big issue as the magazine release is behind the magazine. This will take some getting used to, and even when completely proficient, reloading is still slower than on many other assault rifles.

  • Gas vents

Hot gas is not fun when it touches your bare skin, and the gas port is fairly close to the supporting hand. This can be solved by wearing gloves, but many shooters don’t wear gloves when on the range. So careful hand placement is important when shooting the AUG A3 M1.

  • User opinions…

It takes a lot more effort to really start to like the Steyr AUG A3 M1 or any bullpup assault rifle, for that matter. Unlike the AR15s and AKs, the action happens behind the trigger, so handling the rifle will take some getting used to.

There is not a lot of cross-over skills that can be applied if you are switching from regular rifles to bullpup. In short, there is a learning curve before you can be effective with the AUG A3 M1.

  • But there are advantages…

Maneuverability is greatly improved, and working with tight corners, and multiple targets become so much easier due to its shorter length and weight distribution.

The Steyr AUG A3 M1 is a reliable gun, and after putting in mag after mag, it would still keep going without any malfunctions. There has been some negative feedback, but they are very few and are probably due to occasional factory defects.


Alternatives

After reading through the details for the Steyr AUG A3 M1, you may feel that it isn’t exactly what you need. Therefore, we’ll also cover a close variant of the Steyr AUG A3 M1, the…

IWI Tavor X95

Israeli Weapon Industries (IWI) is the proud creator of the Tavor Bullpup line. They have mastered the art of bullpup rifles and shotguns, making them experts in their field and providing incredible craftsmanship to the Israeli forces.

The TavorX95 takes advantage of having the bullpup design giving you the ballistics of a 16-inch barrel but on a much shorter rifle. But you already know that, so let’s jump straight into what the Tavor X95 has to offer…

Product Description

Made mostly from a synthetic polymer, the X95 has a light-plastic feel to it. The rest of the parts are all cold-hammer-forged, giving the rifle the military standard durability.

The rifle fires 5.56 NATO rounds and uses standard AR15 magazines. Overall, the rifle measures at 36.4 inches and has a barrel length of 16 inches. However, there are many options for cartridges and barrel lengths to choose from if you have a personal preference.

On the top, you will get a full-length Picatinny rail with built-in iron sights. The rail and the cheek rest are on the same level, so the iron-sights stand quite high when in use. If you use an optic, it is wise to get one with a tall mount so it will line-up with your eyesight.

IWI Tavor X95 review
Photo by SHWAT™ Special Hunting
Similar to an AR…

The Tavor x95 also sports a very AR15 style pistol grip, selector switch, and mag release. This is to make the crossing over from AR to bullpup a little easier for most shooters. However, the placement of the magazine still remains in the rear, so it will take some getting used to.

What makes the Tavor X95 so attractive is that it is also fully ambidextrous. There are selector switches and mag releases on both sides. As for the ejection port and the charging handle, they can easily be switched from left to right. Another great thing about the X95 is that the charging handle is over-sized, making it easy to pull back and avoid scraping your knuckles on the rails.

Top Features

Mag Release

Not only is the mag release ambidextrous, but the button is also positioned in front of the trigger, much like that of the AR15, making it very easy to access.

Charging Handle

The charging handle on the X95 is also ambidextrous. However, it is also over-sized making it much easier to access without injuring your knuckles. In addition to that, the charging handle is also positioned mid-mount of the rifle. This is ideal, so you don’t have to reach so far to pull it back.

IWI Tavor X95 Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Durable

The IWI Tavor X95 is durable and reliable. It is a battle-proven assault rifle and will take a beating before breaking down.

  • Learning curve

Even though the bullpup design is very different, IWI has made sure to make the transition easier. With the AR-style pistol grip, selector switch, and mag release, AR users will find it easier to relearn how to shoot.

  • Trigger

The trigger has also been greatly improved from the original one built in the SAR (X95 predecessor). Therefore, even though it is still a bit heavy, it is definitely an improvement. However, if you still find it uncomfortable to shoot, you can always change the trigger to one that you prefer. For example, the Gieselle Super Sabra Trigger or the Tavor Trigger Bow.

  • Modern

The IWI Tavor X95 offers exactly what is required of a modern, if not a futuristic assault rifle. The front handguard acts as a heatshield, as well as having slots for accessories. There are multiple QD slots on both sides of the rifle for the desired sling position. This is just to add to the list of previously mentioned improvements.

Cons

  • Relearning

Even though there are many similarities to the AR, you still have to take some time to learn how to use the X95 as there are still a few differences between bullpup rifles and ARs. However, with time and effort, you will find it as comfortable to use as you would any other rifle.

  • Design

The bullpup designs all have a similar fault in the fact that you cannot adjust the buttstock. So you’ll just have to make it work somehow if your arms are a little longer or shorter.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of which option you choose, bullpup designs are the future for assault rifles. They give the shooter an advantage of a long barrel in a more compact package. To have a 16-inch barrel on a regular AR15, you are looking at a rifle maybe 5-6 inches longer. However, with the bullpup design, you can achieve range as well as maneuverability.

The Steyr AUG A3 M1 is an ideal choice as it offers different rail lengths and heights, as well as a quick-change barrel option. And the IWI Tavor x95 is ideal for shooters who want an easier transition from ARs to bullpup rifles. Also, if you’re looking for a fully ambidextrous experience, then the x95 is an ideal choice.

In the end, it is up to you and exactly what you are looking for. You already know that bullpups will be very different from your regular rifle. Never the less, it doesn’t matter which option you gravitate to, you will ultimately find that bullpup assault rifles are just as effective and enjoyable to shoot as any rifle in the market.


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